Histoires de Parfums 1804 (2001)

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Perfumer Gérald Ghislain

1804 is a tropical fantasy of a perfume. Speaking for my people, pasty white folks, tropical is something we can refer to but can never really pull off. We just weren’t meant to. And though I shout to the heavens that taste is arbitrary, nuance can be the difference between a sunburnt, drunken conga line listing to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and a quiet hand-in-hand evening walk in the sand.

Imagine one of the huge white floral perfumes on tropical vacation: Patou Joy sunbathing in Moorea or Amouage Gold diving in Tahiti. Keep the volume and the sillage, but dial back the uptight. 1804 is a spicy floriental in the grand manner. The allusion may be to tropical scents, but this bad girl is a classic French perfume in her bones and 1804 has exceptional form. Since the implied tone of lushness and leisure takes precedence over structure, form gives way to expression. Intent and composition are fused in 1804 and it achieves that balletic ambition of surpassing technique and simply moving.

1804 is a spectacular application of classical technique and should put the corner-cutting school of perfumery on notice.

Swoon-worthy.

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